July 4, 2023 - July 7, 2023
08:00 - 13:00
Bomas of Kenya

2023 African Diaspora Year of Return and Connections

The 2023 Year of Return and Connections (YORC) is an initiative that offers an opportunity to celebrate the AU’s decision in 2003 to recognize the African Diaspora as the 6th region of Africa but to also take stock of what worked and what didn’t work and the lessons that can be learned from the last 20 years. It seeks to intentionally create connections and interactions that are not just transactional, but are instead transformational.

The African Diaspora Year of Return and Connections is a collaborative initiative between multiple organizations including the National Museums of Kenya, The Shima Foundation (Kenya), The Imperative (US), East Africa Philanthropy Network (Kenya), the St. Croix Foundation (USVI), The Black
Canadian Fundraisers’ Collective (Canada), Kenya Connect(Kenya), Uthabiti Africa(Kenya), Future First(Kenya), The Ubele foundation (London), Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance and many others.

The sincerest way to show someone they are family, welcome or a part of you is to welcome them into your home. 2023 should be a year of return for the Diaspora. The gift of the connection between continental Africans and the Diaspora, will manifest itself culturally, economically, and socially. But
intentional connections leading up to the year of return will move this interaction from being merely transactional to being transformative for example:

  • Traditional investments from foreign sources into Africa have been extractive, with investors seeking to maximize profits often at the expense of the local population.
  • Transformational investments for the Diaspora will be based on relationships and a desire for development in the best interest of the local population.
  • Traditional tourists see themselves as separate from the local population and therefore engage in exploitive practices and without regard to the welfare of the indigenous population
  • Transformative visitors are based on authentic relationships with the people and the land they are visiting. It is a return home, so interactions are respectful, and visitors come with a desire to learn and share.

The centuries of forced separation have been harmful to relatability between both groups. To combat the indoctrination those educated and socialized in the West have endured, Africa must be re-centered. By re-centering Africa, it becomes clearer to the Diaspora that they have a glorious history that predates
interaction with Europeans. Efforts to share experiences will be key to both developing interest in the Diaspora returning home and for that return to be met with enthusiasm.